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Subject: China's DF-21A - could it cause a nuke exchange?
reefdiver    8/6/2010 6:09:22 PM
The DF-21A "carrier killer" ballistic missile has been brought up before. Fox has an article today: h**p:// Hypothetical question: if china could indeed get this to work (likely a big 'if'), would its successful use (i.e. sinking of a US carrier) prompt the US to resort to a nuclear response or would the US simply cede the oceans and send its surface fleet home, leaving only long range bombers and submarines to retaliate with conventional weapons. Alternatively, would the US likey absorb the blow, proceed and trust its fleet BM defense systems, assuming the first simply represented unpreparedness?
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Shawnc    Response to Slim   9/8/2010 4:39:10 AM
  - Actually several Chinese generals have threatened a nuclear response over the past decade to American instrusion or invasion in response to action with Taiwan or a similar crisis. If you needs sources, I should be able to find some.
Officially: >
But yes, they have mentioned the use of nuclear weapons 'informally', especially with regards to Taiwan - there's an implicit threat that if Taiwan develops nuclear weapons, the PLAN would nuke them in a first strike, but then Taiwan is regarded by the PRC as a rouge province, not an independent state. It's all diplomatic semiotics.
- There were reports recently about the Chinese developing and launching several camera, video and SAR eqipped satellites that would be used undoubtedly in tracking and acquisition of an American CBG approaching Chinese waters. Whether the birds will operate in unison or as seperate assets is still a debate, but if the former occurs the PRC will have a tracking capability comparable to Soviet RORSATs for limited periods over the Pacific.
 We discussed the DF-21D a few years ago on this board, and there was a virulent 'China doesn't have the technology' argument for a while, specifically with regard to ISTAR and communication hand-off. Note this was before the official US DoD report on the DF-21D to Congress - IIRC the tone of the argument changed considerably these points were taken into consideration:
1. China does have a series of recon and surveillance satellites - the Yaogan series (according to, Yaogan 1 overflew GF's house as I typed this ;))  which includes about 3 SAR, 4 optical and 3 ELINT. This could give them enough coverage.
2. American CVBGs aren't exactly the most EMCON friendly units around.. they radiate like you wouldn't believe. During my service I was once on a live fire exercise that had to be postponed because a 7th Fleet MEU sailing by 30km away jammed our comms with their broadcast.
3. Apart from emissions, a supercarrier has a massive heat and radar signature - and consider the perspective from a RORSAT looking down onto the flat hot flight deck of a Nimitz Class...
4. With regard to terminal targeting systems on the DF-21D - an active radar guidance system existed on the US Pershing II back in 1983, so it's not inconceivable that China could have developed a similar system by now. 
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